Consultancies are adapting to the digital world

Marc Cecere

The age of the customer is characterized by customer empowerment, digital technology, and new business models. These factors are changing who buys consulting, what they're expecting, how consultants execute on these projects, and how clients pay for them. As a result, firms including Deloitte, McKinsey, Booz Allen Hamilton, Cognizant and others are changing delivery, hiring and contracting models to:

  • Enable reusable assets and software solutions to comprise the bulk of consulting projects. As clients in an increasingly fast world move away from multi year projects, they expect consultants to do the same. Prefab consulting allows consultants to come in with the majority of the work done and focus their problem solving on the issues that are the most unique to that client. This creates a partially “out of the box” solution that eliminates repetitive work from client to client and reduces lead time considerably.
  • Gradually replace technical generalists with specialists. As prefab consulting takes over the work which generalist MBA grads have done in the past, consultants will look to specialists to solve the complex and unique problems that remain after the reusable assets finish the front end work.
  • Provide near immediate access through On demand consulting. In a connected world where we are used to have everything at our fingertips, consultants are expected to be there in our moment of need as well. Consultancies will need to find the experts, make them available, provide context for the questions and connect them with the client- all at the touch of a button.
  • Change the client vs consultancy mindset through co-creation and risk based contracts. Traditional contracts create conflicting goals between the client and consultants. Value-based contracts create greater collaboration as both parties will be striving towards the same metrics.
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Update Your Balanced Scorecard With Business Outcome And Agility Metrics

Martha Bennett

We’ve entered the age of the customer, where powerful customers are disrupting every industry.  In response, companies will have to change how they develop, market, sell, and deliver products and services directly to their customers and through their partners. CIOs and their teams are crucial to these strategic responses and will have to track transformation and performance with new metrics to go beyond their traditional IT approach to include the business technology (BT) strategy — technology, systems, and processes to win, serve, and retain customers.

Existing approaches to Balanced Scorecards deliver limited value in this new environment. This is why Forrester has created an updated Tech Management Balanced Scorecard (based on the original framework proposed by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton) in which we recommend an approach that addresses four components: business outcomes, agility, health, and service (see Figure).

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How To Unlock Tech Industry Digital Transformation

Nigel Fenwick

It's no surprise that tech companies are vested in the digital transformation of their customers. But many tech companies find it difficult to leave their product-centric models behind and focus on customer outcomes. That's just one of the findings from the research published on digital transformation in the tech sector.

True customer obsession demands an outside-in perspective. Tech companies must learn to see their business from the perspective of their customers; beginning with customer desires and working back to the new digital capabilities that can enable the outcomes that satisfy those desires.

But a common problem for tech companies is their business structure. Built around successful products, the P&L structure in most tech companies reflects internal strength — business capabilities if you like — the structure optimizes the ability to bring specific products and product features to market. But from the outside looking in, the product structure can seem at odds with what the customer wants. I can't count how many times the same company has treated me like a new customer, even though I already own one of the products made by the brand — my guess is you've had a similar experience.

Of course this isn't a problem unique to the tech industry. But the tech industry sits at the heart of the digital transformation of many businesses — helping their customers take advantage of their technology to transform their businesses. So you might be forgiven for expecting the tech industry to have figured out it's own transformation already. Not so much.

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Video Helps Your Customers In Their Moment Of Need

Nick Barber

Your customers use apps like Facebook, Skype, Snapchat, and Facetime to hold video calls and you should be using video to connect with them, too. In our report Now You See Me — Video Chat Improves The Customer Experience we found that retail, financial services, healthcare, and other verticals embrace video chat as a way to serve customers in their time of need and as a way to drive measureable ROI.

The cultural and technology barriers to easy video chat have come down in recent years. A UK-based bank deployed video chat for its advisors to use with high net worth clients. These clients, who are typically older, are just as familiar with video calling as their younger cohorts--they use Skype and Facetime to talk to children and grandchildren. On the technology end, a key enabler for video chat is WebRTC, which allows browser-based video conversations without the requirement for downloading plugins. A key driver to adoption is reducing friction.

UK footwear retailer Schuh expanded video chat by deploying it to mobile and increasing the number of video agents by 20% in two years. Video is now Schuh’s busiest customer service channel, eclipsing phone and text chat.

Video chat is useful across the customer journey. Agents can answer questions about a product, they can use co-browsing to help a customer navigate a site or find an item and they can answer questions about how to use a product once purchased.

Video chat endpoints diagram

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Enterprise Architecture Awards 2016 — Enterprise Architecture As A Verb, Not A Noun

Alex Cullen

Forrester and InfoWorld set the theme for this year’s awards as ‘Speed and Responsiveness – And EA”.  The underlying premise is that business leaders are demanding that their business moves faster – everything from updating digital capabilities to bringing more agility in how firms work with customers and suppliers.  In theory, enterprise architecture is a key capability to moving faster.  But how can EA programs – traditionally policemen of technology –  deliver on this potential? 

This year’s Enterprise Architecture Award winners show how.

The title of this blog post is taken from the submission of one of our winners – Humana.  The exact quote from their submission is:

“Humana believes enterprise architecture is primarily a verb, not a noun.”

But this isn’t just a sentiment unique to Humana. All our winners are delivering business results because they embed insight and guidance into the decisions made by their business and IT  leaders – enabling these leaders to ‘enterprise architect’ how they achieve business results.  The result?  Speed and responsiveness of their enterprise. 

Here is how our five winners of this year’s awards are doing this.  But before I describe them, I must say that every year, it gets harder to select winners due to the range of innovation and impact our judges are seeing. When a judge says of one firm, not selected as a winner “This is a really neat concept, well conceived and executed. This company could do our profession a great service if they published this model!" – then you know there are many outstanding award submissions.

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Forrester's Top Emerging Technologies To Watch: 2017-2021

Brian  Hopkins

Think back just a few years — social, mobile, cloud, and big data ruled the emerging technology landscape. Business and technology management executives wondered what big data meant, when the cloud would disrupt their companies, and how to engage effectively on social channels. In 2016, Hadoop turned 10, the cloud has been around even longer, and social has become a way of business and life. So what’s next?

 

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The Old Axiom "No One Gets Fired For Buying [X]" Should Be Laid To Rest

Andre Kindness

I just hung up the phone and can’t stop shaking my head. This was the second call this week from an organization looking for a workaround to deal with the shortcomings of a networking component. Taking inquiries and trying to help clients solve challenges is a common element of my job. This can be tough when it isn’t an engineering issue but a religious one — like this one. In particular, this organization’s relationship with its vendor has become toxic to the business.

The company is trying to digitalize the edge so it can respond to a mobile mindset. These I&O professionals need to deploy a ruggedized networking device that can be set up, tested, and replaced without a networking professional. Why? The company can’t afford to have someone on staff dispersed throughout all locations, at night, to check the networking equipment, a function that’s less than 1% of the service that the company needs to accomplish daily. That would be like a manufacturer having a person to test pumps, another to check compressors, and another to pressurize hydraulic lines.

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Tech Vendors Must Evolve Or Crumble: The Report You Must Read

Glenn O'Donnell

Which companies do you feel are the dominant players in the technology industry? Are they the names that have dominated for years, like Cisco, the newly merged Dell (plus EMC), the recently split HP, Inc. and HPE, IBM, Microsoft, or Oracle? Is it one of the newer cloud titans like AWS, Google, IBM, or Microsoft? Will cloud demolish the tech industry as we know it? Don't get lured into the hyperbole in the market, but do inform yourself about the realities. As with all things in business, follow the money to find the truth. That's what we do every day to seek answers to the big questions in Business Technology.

"Evolve or Crumble" is one of the most important things you will read this year!

The technology vendor landscape is in the midst of great change ... again! The powerhouses of technology are under assault by new and transforming players. My colleagues Sophia Vargas and Richard Fichera recently published a report that should be mandatory reading by everyone in the technology world! You may not agree with their points, but they painstakingly vetted the data and premise with fellow thought leaders within and outside of Forrester. The evidence is compelling. The Evolve Or Crumble: Prepare For The Fate Of The Hardware Incumbents report will make you think and prepare you to make what may be difficult, but necessary decisions about your own future!

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BMC Wants A Greater Share Of The Digital Economy

Nigel Fenwick

Last week I attended BMC's Engage event, an analyst forum in Vegas, as a guest of BMC. Like every other technology vendor, BMC would like a greater share of the emerging digital economy.

With more and more businesses moving to the public cloud, I have no doubt in my mind that the on-prem data center market will diminish quickly over the coming years. I also expect mainframes to go the way of the dodo within 10 years, but many others have previously predicted the demise of mainframes and time has proven them wrong, so I accept I may also be premature.

BMC, a bastion of IT operations, now wants to help IT leaders become drivers of digital business. Indeed, BMC has positioned many of the current raft of product offerings to help tech leaders deliver a more efficient and agile tech capability for the business. And this is important. One of the biggest challenges for many large technology teams is their lack of agility. In the age of the customer, tech teams need to tap into every opportunity (and automation capability) to drive greater agility and efficiency throughout their technology delivery capabilities.

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The Documentum Shoe Finally Drops...As ECM Undergoes A Changing Of The Guard

Cheryl McKinnon

My colleague Craig Le Clair did a nice wrap-up of the long-anticipated news of the divestiture of the Enterprise Content Division (ECD) from the newly merged Dell-EMC entity. The move to spin off the Documentum, InfoArchive and Leap platform was expected, it wasn't entirely clear over the last few months who the lucky buyer would be. Step up OpenText!

Craig's post has some thoughtful recommendations for current ECD customers - for today and beyond 2017 - so I won't rehash these points here: read it for yourself

Today's deal, however, caps a rollercoaster couple of weeks in the broader enterprise content management market. Old vendors are merging, divesting, and trying to reinvent themselves in adjacent markets. Just last week, HP Enterprise "merged" its information and content management portfolio - including its ECM and information governance products - with MicroFocus (a vendor with little name brand recognition in these markets)

Yet, new vendors are delivering real innovation in ECM. The OpenText acquisition of its key decades-long rival comes on the heels of the announcements from BoxWorks 2016, as well as Nuxeo's $20M investment from Goldman Sachs.

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